Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Seth Weiss, Co-Owner of JukeStrat, located in Denver, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I’m lucky to be part-owner of JukeStrat, a purpose-driven venture studio and consulting firm that serves organizations seeking to make a positive impact on the world. JukeStrat’s first venture studio creation, The Fossicker Group, is a majority woman-owned research firm that builds thought leaders and inspires paradigm shifts in diverse industries across the globe. Our customers are national and global enterprises seeking thought partners to help them establish or affirm their position as industry leaders.
Tell us about yourself
I started my career as a corporate transactional and securities attorney. I was drawn to the research and regulatory matters, but I soon saw how fluidly my clients moved from operations to strategy and innovation — all in the course of the same day! It looked like a lot of fun, so I exited law and started business consulting.
While consulting, I began strengthening my entrepreneurial muscle by founding and directing several disruptive technology companies in healthcare, logistics, optics, and securities trading. Without formal education or training in these fields, I worked my way through the process as best I could by identifying a need, treating it as an opportunity, and working to develop a solution. In the process, I learned how to identify opportunities and figure out how to monetize them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Without a doubt, my biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been rediscovering my values and choosing to live by them. Truly living your values requires embracing difficulty and discomfort, being humble enough to learn from one’s mistakes, and being honest with oneself about one’s strengths and shortcomings.
All of this requires prioritizing you and your values. Selflessness is often touted as the key virtue, but if you’ve lost yourself, being selfless will only delay your rediscovery. I spent years turning a blind eye to people’s deceptions and betrayals in the hope that they would magically become the person I always wished they were. In this process of always giving others the benefit of the doubt, I inadvertently abandoned my values. This rediscovery and re-embrace of my moral and ethical convictions was a long, hard road that I’m proud to have traveled.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Saying “no” with comfort and confidence is one of the hardest things a business leader must learn to do. When you own a business, people constantly approach you with ideas and opportunities that may or may not be fruitful. Distinguishing the promising opportunities from the distractions is an important and somewhat rare skill that sets apart successful business owners from others.
Don’t try to make things (people, opportunities) “fit.” Proper fits are lasting and natural. Poor fits are temporary and difficult to navigate. Chances are, you already know proper fit from poor fit. You’re just not adept at saying “no,” and that can be dangerous for you and your business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your value from day one (and evolve with that understanding). What’s the return your customer/client gets from your product or service? How do they get it? Why do they care?
- Be flexible, ready to pivot, pause, or say “next.” It’s not shameful to shut down a company that isn’t working, but it’s disastrous to cling to an idea because your ego dictates that you can’t “give up.” People (including you) will suffer.
- Prioritize people (customers, employees, partners, and stakeholders) over profit. Ultimately, every business is a people business. If you don’t value or take time to understand the people you work with/serve, you’ll have a hollow existence and very few friends. You’ll also never reap the business benefits of high morale (increased productivity, resilience, and revenue).
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don’t waste time talking to someone who can’t answer the question, “what book are you currently reading?” I’m serious. Reading facilitates growth. It requires curiosity and focus. Someone who doesn’t read probably isn’t curious about life. I want to talk with people who are interested in learning more about themselves and the world around them.
That being said, one of my favorite movies is Tommy Boy. There’s a time and place for expanding your mind through literature and art and a time and place for goofiness and third-grade humor. Just ask my wife and daughters who the silliest one in the family is. Spoiler alert: it’s me.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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